"Coryn! Coryn!" The voice of his uncle's cries came ringing through Coryn's ear slits.
He was disoriented. What happened? Why was he falling? Coryn tried to flap his wings, but he could only move his starboard wing. He swiveled his head to the side and stared in horror at the sight. Great Glaux! Where his port wing was supposed to be was now a deep hole where blood poured out of it.
Then he remembered. The fake ember. Soren throwing the ice splinter at Nyra. The lava engulfing her. The Striga fleeing. Coryn chasing after him. Blood, so much blood everywhere, The immense pain he felt. Him plummeting down.
"Hang on, Coryn!" Soren managed to grab his nephew and laid him gently on the ground, away from the raging volcanoes, away from harm. He then cried out to the others in distress.
"Coryn's hurt! He's badly hurt!"
"No, Uncle," Coryn managed to croak, "I am dying."
"No!" Coryn heard his uncle yell in dismay. "You are not dying, you can't!" Soren cradled his nephew closer to his talons.
"No! Coryn, no!" Otulissa then came in, holding his torn-off port wing. "Cleve will come. He will mend you and sew your wing back on," she said in desperation. But he knew, they all knew.
Even if he managed to survive and live, how will Coryn ever rule the Great Tree with only one wing? How can he manage to fly back there?
"I am fine." Coryn mustered all his remaining strength to gently tap Otulissa with his talon. "I don't need wings where I am going."
Everything hurts. Coryn was growing weaker by the second. His breathing came in shallow, rasping breaths. No, there's nothing to be done. He may be young, but this is the end of his journey.
Coryn's not afraid, however, far from it. Once he did not know the meaning of the word "destiny", but now he knew. He may be born into the brutality of the Pure Ones, but it was his destiny to find the truth and prove himself, to retrieve the ember and rule the Great Tree, to fight for the freedom of birds and beasts alike… and to sacrifice his life fighting for that cause.
He accepted his fate as he lay there in his final moments.
But weak as he may be, he heard something just now. There's howling in the distance, the dire wolves expressing their sorrow, mourning the sudden loss of their young king, perhaps, but that's not the only thing that he heard. Not the voices of his uncle and his friends weeping, but something else, something that only he can hear.
Not much longer, Coryn. Not much longer.
A familiar voice, one that he hadn't heard in years, spoke to him through his mind.
Phillip? Is it really you?
Coryn looked up weakly, and sure enough, he could manage to see the swirling, misty scroom of the Sooty Owl, smiling warmly at him. He couldn't believe his eyes. If he still has the strength he would have floated up there and greeted him in the peculiar way one communicated with scrooms. He supposed it wouldn't matter, seeing that his body and spirit shall be permanently separated.
Fear not, Coryn. We'll be together soon.
Together soon… Coryn's gizzard gave a slight quiver. He missed Phillip greatly. The owl who taught him so much, the owl who made his life in the Pure Ones bearable, the owl who was murdered ruthlessly by his own mother.
The owl whom he loved so much.
Does that mean that his time is almost up? Does this mean that Phillip is going to escort him away?
I shall, my old friend. Are you ready, Coryn?
Yes. Yes, he's ready.
Goodbye, everyone. Goodbye, Uncle. He wanted to say, a final farewell to the owls he knew and loved, but he no longer had the energy to. Slowly closing his eyes and letting out a deep, heavied breath for the final time, Coryn was no more.
His port wing now miraculously attached to his body once more, he spread his wings and followed Phillip on the way to Glaumora, happy to be reunited with his loved one once again.